Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Enclosing some 4,127 acres, Babcock State Park contains some of the most diverse and stunning natural beauty of West Virginia. Two major creeks, the Glade and Mann, formed high in the Allegheny Plateau, tumble through the park. They form nearly continuous falls and cascades that can be heard for hundreds of vertical feet above their path as they run down the hillsides and pour into the New River. Microclimates of dense, moist thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel line the creek bottoms. Mixed forest of hemlocks, rhododendron, and deciduous trees cling to the steep gorge’s hillsides among the rocky Nuttall sandstone outcroppings and cliffs. On top of the drier plateau, white pines and mixed hardwoods crown the area with mature second-growth forest.

In the heart of the park is the iconic and heavily visited Glade Creek Grist Mill, probably one of the most photographed spots in West Virginia. It is a recreation of the original mill that was located at the site of the park’s current administration building. The new Glade Creek Grist Mill was made from the remains of three authentic gristmills in the area. It was completed in 1976. Though crowded on busy weekends, it is worth visiting due to the authenticity of the mill and the knowledge of the well-informed tour guides.

The park is steeped in the boom-bust history of America’s industrial development. In the later half of the 19th century, the technology of the railroad made exploitation of the coal and timber resources of the area profitable. Narrow gauge railroads moved through the nearly denuded watersheds that became the park. In the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) established two camps, Camp Lee, now the site of the park’s 52-site campground, and Camp Beaver. The CCC constructed trails, roads, the beautiful log and native stone cabins along Glade Creek, and the park’s administration building.

The 13 CCC cabins along Glade Creek are the prettiest of the park's 28 rental cabins. They are accessible via the old Sewell Road, once a critical route to the bottom of the New River Gorge and the town of Sewell. The park was established in 1937 and has been protected ever since.

Fishing is popular in the two creeks and the park’s small lake. The park has a series of short, easy-to-moderate trails totaling about 20 miles. Parts of the old Sewell Road are a major trail in the park. The best source of hiking information is the park’s hiking map and Hiking and Biking in the New River Gorge, a guidebook by R. Bryan Simon. By linking the trails, there are several options to extend them into the far reaches of the park, away from the crowds, where you can witness the power of nature’s ability to rejuvenate. Manns Gorge Trail the Narrow Gauge Trail + Skyline Trail Loop are good options to explore the stunning interior of the park.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful mountain park. Near the New River Gorge.

Cons

The main areas can be crowded.

Features

ADA accessible
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Historically significant
Waterfalls
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Dump stations
Wi-Fi
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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